I spent about 20 minutes on NYLON Magazine’s Senior Beauty Editor Jade Taylor’s Instagram, and then proceeded to spend a stupid amount of money at Sephora.
Growing up as a magazine geek, NYLON was the publication that made you want to be the editor of something, somewhere, but especially at NYLON. We talked to Taylor about sharing her life via Snapchat, coming up with new ways to write about beauty and what it’s actually like to work for a magazine that has people starstruck.
A lot of people follow you on social media and are constantly interacting with the ideas that you share there. Is there a specific way you choose to present yourself online?
I’m very raw on social media, especially Snapchat. On Instagram I post a lot of candid photos of my life mixed with “work” photos (i.e. pretty photos of mascara and photo shoots)—a lot of people have their own Instagram aesthetic, but I’m not really sure what mine would be. Sometimes I scroll through my own feed and I’m like, “what the fuck is this?” But I’m not too candid…like, I don’t post photos of myself crying (because that happens) or videos of my landlord yelling at me because my rent is late (because that also happens)—everything that you see is purposely, almost strategically, put there. I recently posted a photo of myself holding a glass of wine with gin in it with the longest caption ever venting about what a shitty day I had, and I talk about this topic of selective social media-ism there. I ended up getting such positive feedback from people because I think they felt relieved to finally see something real for once vs. something vapid or unrealistic.
What do you want people to take away from following you?
That I’m a normal person. I’m not selling you tea or sponsored shit—I’ve never posted a sponsored photo in my life. I’ve had offers, of course, but I think it’s tacky.
Photographer Beth Garrabrant, NYLON
How has the way that you’ve interacted on digital platforms changed over time?
I don’t have a Tumblr or anything, and I really only use Twitter when I’m drunk or feeling sassy, so Instagram (and recently) Snapchat have been the only two forms of social media I interact on. Sometimes I get Snapchats from girls with a selfie of themselves and the caption will be like, “I love you Jade!!!” which is so flattering. I also get really sweet DMs from people all over the world on Instagram who love the pages/features/interviews I’ve done at NYLON. Obviously social media has changed drastically in the past few years, going from the “MySpace generation” to the “Facebook generation” to the “Instagram generation” or whatever—I’m excited to see what’s next, I’m sure it’ll be ridiculous.
Are there any themes or ideas that you frequently try to address in your work?
Empowering women is the number one thing I do each issue. When I first started in the beauty industry, I remember feeling so isolated from everyone: magazines, beauty editors, brand campaigns, etc. Everything was like, “the top 10 best coral lip glosses to try!” and I was always like, “where’s the top 10 best black lipsticks to try?” I knew I had an obligation to myself, and like-minded girls like myself, to conceptualize and produce original beauty ideas and throw traditional beauty standards (see: tall, Caucasian, skinny, blonde girls) down the drain. Years ago, one of the first beauty pages I ever did at NYLON was this weird intergalactic beauty trend page (which was sooo not a trend at the time) and then of course years later everyone had galaxy nails and shit. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve featured relatively unknown girls/celebrities and then they’ve blown up or other magazines feature them months later. A lot of my work gets poorly recreated/ripped off by other people, but that’s just a factor of life in this industry. But showing a different side of beauty is something I will always do.
Is there a story you’ve worked on that has been particularly meaningful to you?
I did a red lipstick story over a year ago and wanted it to be a completely different kind of red lipstick page—because everyone has done a fucking red lipstick page. One of the girls I casted, Chloe Mackey, had green hair and matching green armpit hair at the time, and the photo of her that ran in the magazine was a shot with her arm up so you could see her armpit hair, and I remember feeling so happy that it ran because I couldn’t remember ever seeing a photo of a girl with armpit hair in NYLON or any other major magazine before, especially in a red lipstick story. I’m still really proud of that.
How does pop culture affect your work? What is it that draws you to it?
I’ve done so many shoots based on things in pop culture, especially my beauty openers. I’ve done openers inspired by films like Who Are You, Polly Maggoo?, Grey Gardens, and The Virgin Suicides—I’ve done shoots inspired by aliens, skaters, goths, vintage mug shots, Patrick Nagel, Bowie, aura photographs, Britney Spears…I mean, there’s been a lot of different references in my work. They’re all just extensions of my interests and of myself.
On a scale of 1–10, what activity (any activity) would you rate a perfect 10?
I would love to go bowling with Marilyn Manson.
“They forget about all the (literal) blood, sweat and tears that goes into things behind the scenes.”
Is there anything you wish people knew about your work?
Unless you work or have worked in the magazine/publishing world, then you really have no idea what working at a magazine is actually like. I feel like a lot of people think of movies like The Devil Wears Prada or The September Issue or something when they picture people working at a magazine and it couldn’t be more opposite. I’m the only person in the beauty department here at NYLON (which means I don’t have an assistant, just awesome interns), so I literally do everything as a one-woman show. I’ve had up to 30 pages an issue before, so it’s a lot of fucking hard work. And that’s just one part of my job! As a beauty editor, I attend beauty events/previews every week, have breakfast/lunch/dinners with PR brands, take desksides, go on press trips—it’s a lot. Sometimes when I tell people, “I’m sorry, I’m busy!” I don’t think they really understand. That part is something I feel like not a lot people actually understand about my job—I get the feeling that people just assume my life is glamorous or whatever because I get to travel and I get sent free beauty products, but they forget about all the (literal) blood, sweat and tears that goes into things behind the scenes.